songwrite2018 – a great two days in creative community

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songwrite2018 co-coordinator David Busch writes …

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Worship is universal, but song-writing isn’t – each gathered community needs songs that derive from, and speak to, its context. And we need to learn to sing hope amid the hard stuff of life.

With those words, Dr Tanya Riches – composer, justice advocate, cross-cultural IMG_0124missiologist, researcher and Hillsong scholar – urged Uniting Church song-writers to give authentic voice to the laments and hopes of people and places across Australia.

The 25 composers from four States attending Songwrite 2018 heard Tanya’s challenge, and so unfolded another weekend of creativity, collaboration and encouragement – the third national Songwrite conference sponsored by the Assembly’s Working Group on Worship since 2013.

Indooroopilly UC, Brisbane, hosted the conference over the Australia Day long weekend. For half of the attendees, this was their first Songwrite conference, and several of those had never written a worship song.

ferg_39894478282_oBut by the Sunday morning, three songs composed over the weekend were ready to be shared in a special Songwrite service with the Indooroopilly Congregation, in addition to several others that Songwrite participants had written earlier.
A focus for musical inspiration was the theme for the 15th Assembly, meeting this July in president-elect-dr-deidre-palmer_39906151641_oMelbourne: Abundant Grace, Liberating Hope.

UCA President-elect, Dr Deidre Palmer, had outlined that theme in a letter to participants a few weeks prior to Songwrite, and she attended the conference to speak further about the theme and share the experience of music taking shape around that focus.

With her academic background and extensive experience in ethno-musicology, theological anthropology, disability studies, and intersections between Pentecostal Christianity and The Dreaming of Australia’s First Peoples, as well as her success as a composer, Dr Tanya Riches brought deep insight and broad horizons to her three keynote presentations, accompanied by her musician husband, Tim Sheerman

Tanya has come a long way since writing her first song, “Jesus, what a beautiful name” in 1995, as a 15-year-old facing a difficult home life. That song leapt to the top of Christian music charts across the world and helped to regalvanise Hillsong’s music ministry after the departure of Geoff Bullock.

“I didn’t create that song,” Tanya told Songwrite. “I was a steward of a song which just emerged from within me. I couldn’t really understand the full meaning of what I was writing.

“To say that I write the song is a betrayal of the work of God embedded in the act of creating – no song I’ve ever written is mine.

“The journey of the song-writer is to steward the songs within you and within others. To give voice to your pain and passion, to connect that with the pain and passion of others, and find a language and a music that creates a community of worship of God who breaks into our lives and our world.”

Tanya said the most pressing need for worship song-writers today was to find ways to express grief and lament as entry points into empathy and humility before God and each other – enabling people to sing their questions and acknowledge the pain we each carry in our lives as we sit in church each week.

“We go through the motions at church but we know that true community is better than this. People resonate with honesty. Our songs should make the pain normative, and bring us to a turning point with the psalmists who, in the midst of anguish and lament, can declare, ‘But God …’

“There is a beautiful energy in a community singing their stories.”

IMG_1554Other parts of the Songwrite 2018 program included six composers sharing their approach to song-writing – Dave Andrews, David MacGregor, Allan Hoare, Craig Mitchell, Alison Campbell Rate and Eric Woodrow; a very entertaining Saturday night cabaret ‘open mic’ for song-sharing; and a workshop, open to the wider church, by Rev Dr Amelia Koh-Butler on how to teach new worship songs to a Congregation.

Songwrite is held about every two years.

David Busch
joint coordinator, with David MacGregor

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just about ready to go … songwrite2018

songwrite_words 2018 begins in less than 24 hours – at 2 pm at
IUC outsideIndooroopilly Uniting Church, Brisbane, Australia – drawing creative folk from four states of Australia.

Here’s what the program looks like:

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We look forward to God’s creative hand among us, as songs are written, honed and shared together, including with the local Indooroopilly Uniting Church community this Songwriter composing a songSunday, 28 January.

songwrite2018 is a national UCA Assembly initiative through the Assembly Worship Working Group, building on previous national events in Canberra (2013) and Adelaide (2015)

Blessings,
David MacGregor
David Busch – coordinators

 

less than 7 weeks to “songwrite2018”

Registrations are coming in for
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2018 – a  marvellous opportunity for folk from around Australia to gather in creative community over 48 hours to craft & nourish new songs in Christian worship.

Registrations have already come in from South Australia, Victoria and Queensland, with regos anticipated from other parts of the country too.

In coming weeks, registrants will be updated with details, including local transport, program and “what to bring” information. Registrations close: 18 January 2018

A pool of support/mentor musicians is being gathered to facilitate the workshopping of new songs and local arrangements at Indooroopilly Uniting Church are being advanced.

We keenly anticipate the skilful input and encouragement of our guest presenter Tanya Riches.

For more information contact
David MacGregor
dmacgreg1@optusnet.com.au
0414392802

 

songwrite2018 draft program now available

The exciting and varied program for songwrite2018 is now available.

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  • plenty of creative space opportunities to craft new or emerging worship songs
  • three “keynotes” facilitated by our special guest presenter Tanya Riches
  • opportunities to learn from other worship song writers
  • songwrite cafe’ on the Saturday evening
  • two days in creative, Christian community, in connection with Indooroopilly Uniting Church, Brisbane

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note:

  • this program may well change between now and January 2018 🙂
  • Facebook page
  • contact David MacGregor 0414 392 802 or dmacgreg1@optusnet.com.au for more information
  • online registration available by early September 2017

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